Billionaire exposes for sale 1/5 share of the company to help its airlines and the rest of the group.
Sir Richard Branson sells shares of Virgin Galactic for $500 million to support its interests in the airline industry and business in the field of leisure and entertainment that were seriously affected by the pandemic coronavirus.
In a statement to the new York stock exchange's Virgin Group on behalf of Branson announced that it intends to sell 25 million shares through a series of transactions.
Shares, which account for just over one-fifth of the billionaire in the business of space tourism, was worth $500 million at their prior price of $20. Virgin owns 81% of the shares Vieco 10, companies involved in the sale of shares, and will receive about $400 million from the sale and the remainder will go to the Aabar investment Fund in Abu Dhabi.
"Virgin intends to use any proceeds to support its portfolio of global businesses in the leisure, travel and tourism, which suffered an unprecedented impact Covid-19" — is told in the company message.
The industry of recreation and tourism particularly hard hit by the pandemic, after governments worldwide imposed strict travel restrictions to curb the spread of the virus. Stop economic activities in the global tourism is affecting a lot of companies of the Virgin Group, including Virgin Atlantic and stay, cruise and hotel businesses.
The collapse in the airline Virgin Australia was forced to introduce an interim administration and left Virgin Atlantic in serious financial difficulties.
The extent of the problems Virgin Atlantic was underlined this month when the airline announced plans to withdraw from Gatwick airport (Gatwick Airport) and to cut a third of jobs. The airline, in which Branson still owns a 51% stake, is looking for extra investment, but is also looking for at least some government assistance to overcome the situation.
Recourse to the British taxpayer caused a backlash, and people pointed to the enormous personal wealth of Branson as a potential source of funding for the salvation of the business. Despite the fact that in recent years, the airline never turned a profit, it at least has recorded positive earnings in the past — three years in a row staying in the black until 2017.
In contrast, Virgin Galactic has never generated profits and had suffered from consistent delays in plans to carry tourists into space. Last year, Branson said he hoped to make the first trip “months, not years” after receiving £ 60 million — 100 thousand pounds 600 customers.
Virgin Galactic is struggling for supremacy in space tourism with SpaceX project, started by the founder of Tesla, Elon Musk, and Blue Origin project, led by Amazon's Jeff Bezosa, the richest to date person in the world.
In October, Branson has made his business public on the stock market, having received funding in the amount of $ 450 million due to the merger with the Social Capital Hedosophia, investment company, run by a former head of Facebook Hamat of Palihapitiya.
Investors were offered the opportunity to buy the stock under the symbol “SPCE” on the stock market for $12,34 , while shares closed above $20 at the close on Friday.
In addition to the sale of the shares of Virgin Galactic, Branson said he would lay his private Caribbean island to raise money to help his business Empire.
Branson, who is the seventh richest man in Britain with a fortune, which is estimated at 4.7 billion pounds, and the last 14 years is not taxable on the island of Necker (Necker Island) in the British virgin Islands, promised in his post that “will collect more money under the mortgage of the island to preserve as many jobs”.
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Richard Branson to sell $500m worth of Virgin Galactic shares (The Guardian)
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